Traineeships, Work Experience and Sector based work academy, mandatory from October. #YOBSS #Workfare

Today the DWP confirmed that young people aged 18 to 21 in England, Scotland and Wales on it’s Youth Obligation benefit sanctions scheme (YOBSS) for 6 months without finding paid work, will be referred on a mandatory basis to:

Failure to attend will result in benefit sanctions. YOBSS first started April 2017 and referrals to the above zero wage work placements starts October 2017.

Join Boycott Workfare‘s campaign against forced-unpaid-labour and sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.






DWP’s Behaviour ‘Science’ (BS) ‘Growth Mindset’ resolutely trashed by academics

The DWP Behaviour ‘Science’ (BS) Team collaboration with USA psychobabblers[1] has been dealt a severe blow, after it’s use of the ‘Growth Mindset‘ is “not“[2] a predictor of achievement.

“…fixed mindsets were associated with greater academic achievement.”
Source: ‘Growth mindset does not predict academic achievement, study finds‘ – Times Education Supplement – 25/7/17

“…growth mindset has little impact on students’ progress'”
Source: Times Education Supplement – 12/6/15

Therefore Jobcentre Work ‘Coach’ inculcation of this ‘Growth Mindset‘ trash within the DWP’s mandatory ‘Health and Work Conversation’ (HWC) [3] for sick and disabled making a new ESA claim should be banned immediately.  “It individualises the failure – ‘they couldn’t change the way they think, so that’s why they failed’.” [4]

The DWP did put out a £21,000,000 tender for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) in 2015, but for some reason it was never contracted for. It could be the case that mandatory CBT like treatment is now being delivered for free by Work ‘Coaches’. Even though the DWP has said Jobcentre CBT would be “entirely voluntary” ESA claimants who refuse to be subjected to HWC behaviour modification will get a financial penalty as part of the DWP’s secret penal system.

The DWP’s State sponsored BS goal to change a person’s ‘Fixed Mindset’ to a ‘Growth Mindset‘  is nothing short of psychological abuse.

An investigation is needed into the DWP use of BS, in light of the fact that the Team’s work has never been subject to any independent evaluation and deliberately avoids transparency by seeking to subvert disclosure of it’s activities under the Freedom of Information Act. As an interim measure all DWP benefit claimants should be allowed to lodge and have recognised a ‘Conscientious Objection‘ against being subjected to any BS techniques either by the DWP itself or it’s contracted providers.

Will any UK professional bodies investigate this use of BS or address how fully informed consent to this ‘treatment‘* is not even part of DWP’s HWC thinking? A difficulty is the discipline and practitioners of BS are not under the remit of any professional body.

*Or “brainwashing” as someone calls it.

[1] See item [6] Behavioural ‘Science’, psychological coercion and pseudoscience
[2] The relationship between intelligence and mindset
[3] Health and Work Conversation: A 60 – minute e-learning session for Work Coaches
[4] New test for ‘growth mindset’, the theory that anyone who tries can succeed







DWP letter to ESA claimants: No need to share your disability, illness or health information before or at the Health & Work Conversation

DWP has released a copy of the of invite letter it sends out to new claimants of Employment Support Allowance, inviting them to the mandatory Health and Work Conversation (HWC) Jobcentre appointment.

The letter confirms claimants are not required to share their disability, illness or health information during or prior to the Health and Work Conversation. This follows on from confirmation by the DWP that claimants are also not required to complete the HWC booklet or do the ‘My Values‘ exercise.

Unfortunately the letter sent to claimants does not explain who is exempt from attending the mandatory HWC appointment.

Note: An earlier copy of a similar HWC invite letter does not advise claimants what personal data they do not need to share. This new letter does not advise claimants they are not required to complete the HWC booklet or do the ‘My Values‘ exercise.

“You don’t have to talk about your disability, illness or health
condition during or prior to your health and work conversation if
you don’t want to.”

The letter also usefully says:

“You’re welcome to bring someone with you if you want to. The
person you bring should know and understand you and your
needs (for example, a relative, support worker or friend. They
must be 16 or over).”

More ominously the letter says:

“Your ESA payments may be reduced if you don’t go to this
work focused interview and you don’t have a good reason

DWP comments on the HWC booklet and ‘my-values’ exercise:

“The HWC is a claimant led conversation so claimants can decide whether they want to discuss  their health. If claimants do not wish to discuss their health the work coach will tailor the discussions based on what they are comfortable discussing.

The My Values exercise is an optional exercise that claimants can complete during the HWC. The work coach will ask the claimant whether they want to complete the My Values Exercise. A sanction would not apply for not completing the My Values exercise.

Where a claimant doesn’t complete the HWC booklet but participates and engages in the conversation, a failure to participate sanction will not apply.”
Source: DWP FOI response (2302) – 20/6/7

Related posts:





Social Mobility Commission seeks to ban unpaid work, but totally ignores zero wage #workfare. @alanmilburn1958

For some years there have been various calls to ban unpaid internships, with likes of the social mobility ‘tsarAlan Milburn saying:

“Any work placements that last more than four weeks should be classified as internships and those doing them should receive at least the minimum wage.”

We now also have a two private members bills seeking to end “unpaid trial shifts” and “Unpaid Work Experience“.

But what is curious about these calls for a ban on unpaid work is they totally ignore unpaid work that is organised by the Government, such as Traineeships that can last 6 months and “You won’t be paid” wages by anyone. Then there is forced unpaid workfare labour arranged by the Department of Work and Pensions , which is now integrated into Universal Credit.

Provisions also exist to require sick and disabled people to do compulsory unpaid “community benefit” workfare placements, including new claimants of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and under the forthcoming Health and Work Programme.

From October young people on the Youth Obligation in England, Scotland and Wales can be forced into mandatory workfare or face benefit sanctions for refusal.

So what does the Social Mobility Commission have to say about the DWP’s unpaid work placement and work experience schemes (workfare) for benefit claimants? Well
today it explains that when it comes to State sponsored unpaid work, just like the Private Members bills above it is not slightest bit interested.


New law to ban unpaid internships?
“There have been attempts in the past to introduce a similar bill but Chris hopes that with increasing awareness of the issues and powerful campaigns by the Social Mobility Commission that the time might now be right for change in the law.”?





Disability Rights UK @DisRightsUK questions why @DWP ESA Health & Work Conversation mandatory – #foi

“DR UK questions the need for the new Health and Work Conversation to be mandatory”, based on FOI requests written about here, specifically:

It is also worth noting that although  DR UK say, “The DWP piloted the HWC on a voluntary basis and said everyone, claimants and work coaches, thought it worked really well at starting to build positive engagement. So why is the HWC still not purely voluntary?”, this does not address whether the HWC being built on positive psychology and behavioural ‘science’ tools is appropriate whether ‘voluntary’ or mandatory.

This ‘conversation‘ is highly structured and orientated to seeing work ‘as a health outcome‘ and whatever the DWP say it is never by any stretch of the imagination “claimant led“.

One comment DR UK said which is to be highly commended is requiring the DWP to send to new ESA claimants full details of when they are exempt from a Health and Work ‘Conversation’.


ESA ‘My 4 Steps’, more examples


“My 4 steps

WANT – Cut down amount of alcohol I drink.
OUTCOME – Feel healthier and good about myself.
OBSTACLE – I feel pressured to order alcohol.
PLAN – I will order a lemonade instead.”

“Want to sleep tonight
Opportunity pub open
Obstacle work
Pissed? yep thanks. ”
Source: twitter

“Want: I want to be rich
Outcome : I will be rich
Obstacle I don’t have enough money
Plan: Buying a lottery ticket”
Source: twitter

Related: ESA Health and Work Conversation: Very simple way to complete ‘My 4 Steps’

During the HWC, the claimant does not
have to choose a goal related to health
or work – the goal can be anything that
they care about and want to achieve.” [emphasis added]
Source: Work Coach Reference Guide for the Health & Work Conversation



ESA Health and Work Conversation: Very simple way to complete ‘My 4 Steps’

As the DWP’s Health and Work Conversation (HWC) “My 4 Steps is the backbone of the HWC“, below is one way to develop a step. Can you think of 3 more creative ones?

During the HWC, the claimant does not
have to choose a goal related to health
or work – the goal can be anything that
they care about and want to achieve.
Source: Work Coach Reference Guide for the Health & Work Conversation

Step 1 – Want (This means ‘what would you like to happen’)

The HWC booklet to include a statement that claimants are not required to complete any of it, or discuss any of their health, disability or personal matters they feel uncomfortable about or share with a Jobcentre Work Coach any of their own sensitive personal data verbally or in writing. And the booklet to include extensive examples of sensitive personal data claimants do not have to share by any means.

Step 2 – Outcome (This means ‘what do you believe can happen’)

DWP can change the booklet

Step 3 – Obstacle (This means ‘what is stopping you’)

I do not know how to get the DWP to respect my Sensitive Data Protection and Rights of Privacy

Step 4 – Plan (This means ‘what you are going to do’)

Ask my Work Coach to write to me with a formal letter explaining when DWP will complete Step 1


The DWP’s ‘My 4 Step’ HWC process is based upon WOOP, which @CoyneoftheRealm has some insightful comments on.


DWP ‘My 4 Steps’ training material

My 4 Steps template

Handout 05.02 – Drilling Down for My 4 Steps

Topic 04 – My 4 Steps

Notice: If you are a prospective new ESA claimant it is suggested you do not act on the views above, without first seeking independent advice, support and solidarity.  This is because the DWP is a dysfunctional organisation, engages in ‘conscious cruelty‘ and uses a secret penal system. Plus “many claimants do not see…[Jobcentre] work coaches as on their side”

One recommended source of advice & information is AskCPAG.

Related: ‘Health & Work Conversation: Behavioural Science tools & info disclosed that seek only “true” “appropriate” answers‘, Claimants not required to disclose sensitive personal data as part of” Health and Work Conversation. DWP Minister @DWP says completion of Health and Work Conversation questionnaire booklet not mandatory…only ‘conversation’! and ‘Oxymoronic Catch-22 @DWP: New ‘Health & Work Conversation’ is both mandatory and ‘voluntary’…